The Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of a youth by a soldier attached to Command Secondary School Kaduna. The ugly incident occurred at Command Junction along Kachia/NNPC express Road, on Friday as the 35-year-old father of one, Solomon Andy (not Sunny as earlier reported ) was shot dead by the soldier.
Reacting to the incident, the Nigerian Army issued a statement signed by Colonel Kingsley Umoh, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division, Nigerian Army thus:
“The attention of Headquarters 1 Division Nigerian has been drawn to tension arising from an incidence that occurred at about 10:00 am today 9 June, 2017.
“A soldier of the Division’s Internal Security Force deployed at Command Secondary School Kaduna opened fire on some youths suspected to have encroached into the school premises. One of the youths was hit and died at the spot.
“Officers have been deployed to the scene of the incidence in response and the Police have also been invited to take control of the situation.”
Meanwhile, speaking at an emergency meeting to resolve the impasse with some traditional rulers and youth leaders from Television community, the representative of the State Governor and coordinator of Operation Yaki, Col. Yakubu Soja (Rtd), assured citizens of the state that government will conduct investigation into the incidence with the sole aim of prosecuting the culprit.
He said the governor is saddened over the development and appealed for calm among the citizens of the state. He also advised the citizens not to take the law into their hands as the Army Command has commenced the process of penalizing the Soldier that shot dead the civilian.
He advised the people of the area not to view what happen with religious coloration but a clash between civilians and soldiers.
His words: “We cannot allow this to go unpunished; we shall investigate the cause of the incidence and ensure that the law take its course. The Army authority has already taken action against the soldier that shot dead the civilian. We are assuring the people that justice shall take it course.”
However, an eye witness account said the boy was packing sharp sand from a gully close to the fence separating the Military Secondary School and the community close to the burial ground when the soldier shot him.
The eye witness said soldiers have been having a running battle with youths from the community over the packing of sand in the area, with the particular soldier always threatening to deal with anybody found within the vicinity.
But on Friday morning the Youths were said to have taken to their heels on sighting the gun welding soldier. However, Solomon refused to run but instead pleaded with the soldier to allow him pack the sand to get something to eat, since he was packing inside a gutter that belongs to nobody but in the burial ground.
The source however said, the soldier “got angry when Solomon refuse to run and shot at him while the boy was approaching and pleading with him.”
The development prompted an outrage as youths from the vicinity took the corpse to the gate of the command secondary school and started protesting that the killer soldier be brought out for justice.
They barricaded the entrance of the school, the roads along the school leading to Kachia and the NNPC refinery in Kaduna and the other leading to Romi and Gonin-Gora and Abuja expressway causing traffic gridlock for almost 4 Hours as motorists have to negotiate alternative routes.
Efforts by the Police officers on ground to broker a deal with the youths was not successful necessitating a reinforcement of combined operatives of soldiers, MOPOL, and regular police in two trucks and over 15 Toyota Hilux vans.
But the youths remained adamant insisting on seeing a high ranking government officer who can promise them that justice would be done before allowing the police to take away the corpse.
The situation however deteriorated when the police insisted on taking the corpse while the Youths started throwing stones. The impasse that followed left three others injured who are now receiving treatment at St. Gerald Catholic Hospital, Kakuri, Kaduna.